In Search of a Hero

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I love the first week of a series and I have been waiting to kick off Fight for months.

So excited about Sunday!

For the next 5 weeks, we will be looking at the life of Samson and learning about the battles that men fight and how to win those fights. The implications of this have huge ramifications on families, marriages and single men and women.

To start off, we will be looking at Judges 13 this week and the idea that all of us are looking for a hero.

Growing up, we maybe looked to a parent or a teacher or a coach as a hero. As we get older, we might look to our kids, spouse, a degree or career path, we may even look to ourselves to be a hero. A hero is someone who saves us, rescues us from our life and takes us to something new, something better than what we have at the moment.

This is natural. This is how we are wired. We are wired to look for a hero, to look for something more, we are wired to fight for it as well.

The problem?

All the heroes we prop up in our lives and in our culture fail us. 

If you or someone you know struggles to be the man they need to be, who is unsatisfied with their life and wish that it could be more than what it is, this is a great week to be at Revolution.

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • Yesterday was a moving day for me personally at Revolution
  • Katie and I taught together again on how to let go of your past
  • I loved hearing her share her story and how God’s grace has worked in her heart to release people from her past
  • If you missed it as we unpacked Colossians 3, you can listen to it here
  • This series has been awesome
  • So much excitement among women (and men) in our church about discovering what it means to be a beautiful woman of God
  • Katie and I are teaching at MOPS tomorrow on how to communicate and fight well
  • What is so sad about this topic is how few couples do this well
  • Yes, every couple fights
  • If you say you don’t, you are lying to me or yourself
  • It takes time to get good at communicating with your spouse, but if you don’t do it well, your marriage will either end or be miserable
  • I asked the leaders of MOPS to survey the women about questions they have or what they are struggling with and it was heartbreaking to read them
  • My first thought was I’d like to talk to their husbands
  • My second thought was I’d like to talk to the pastors of their husbands
  • If you are a pastor, step up to the plate and start calling the men in your church to task to be the men God created them to be
  • Watched the super bowl last night with some friends (and a few were Broncos fans)
  • I was hoping Peyton Manning would win, but that was a horrible game
  • Wow
  • All I could think was, “this is the best team in the AFC?”
  • I am starting a new coaching relationship today with Brian Howard
  • Really excited about what this means for me personally and for Revolution
  • I took one step closer to finalizing my book proposal over the weekend
  • So excited to get it into the hands of publishers and move forward with it
  • I started a new novel series over the weekend: The Mitch Rapp series by Vince Flynn
  • Started with American Assassin
  • So far, really good
  • Excited for the end of the week, Paul and I are going to a multi-site conference in Phoenix
  • Definitely excited about learning how best to move forward in the coming year with planting a second Revolution Church
  • Pumped for Sunday as we wrap up Beautiful and look at Proverbs 31 and how to “find a wife worth having and becoming a woman worth being”
  • Going to be awesome
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Beautiful starts in 2 Weeks!

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We are doing something this year at Revolution that we’ve never done before. After we finish our Breathing Room series we will do a series geared to women and one geared to men. Don’t worry though, each week will have clear relevance and application to everyone.

Here’s what is happened starting January 26th:

Even when you don’t feel it. Even when you’re not happy. Even when you feel condemned. Right now, someone thinks you are BEAUTIFUL. God wants you to see yourself the same way. Join us Jan. 26 – Feb. 9 for Beautiful, a series for women and the men who pursue them.

Our pastor, Josh and his wife Katie will be teaching this series together as we look at what God created women to be, how to become that woman, and what the roadblocks are to becoming that woman. We’ll look at body image issues, how to let go of your past, how to use your tongue in a positive way, and the legacy you should strive for as a woman. We will also talk to men about how to help their wives become this woman, how a single guy finds a girl that God calls “Beautiful” and how to raise girls who are “Beautiful” in the eyes of God. Here’s what we’ll look at specifically:

January 26: Me, Beautiful?
February 2: Letting Go of Your Past
February 9: The Priorities of a Woman

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Brand New Series This Sunday @ Revolution | Made for Glory

Made for Glory

This past Sunday was one of the most incredible days in the history of Revolution Church and we get to do it again this Sunday!

We had our highest attendance ever. Our most baptisms ever. And story after story of God’s grace and lives changed. If you missed it, you can listen to the sermon here.

I am really excited for this Sunday because we will kick off a brand new series called Made for Glory. 

The book of John is broken down into two themes: signs (John 1 – 11) and glory (John 12 – 21) and this Sunday we will begin chapter 12 by looking at John 12:1 – 11. 

All of us have this sense that there is supposed to be more to our life. We see greatness, we see glory in sports, relationships and jobs and we want it. We know there should be more to who we are and what we do.

But where does this come from?

From Jesus. John 12 – 21 is about seeing Jesus as King, reigning in glory. Through that, we are able to reflect his glory and his greatness in our lives.

In fact, Jesus tells us in John 14 that we’ll do greater works than He has: Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Join us this week as we kick off Made for Glory. We meet every Sunday morning at 10am at 8300 E Speedway Blvd. and we’d love to see you.

Planning a Preaching Calendar

Ironically, how we plan our preaching calendar at Revolution is one of the most common questions I get from other pastors. In fact, in the last 2 weeks I’ve been asked about it almost a dozen times that I thought I would share how we decide what we preach on and how far out we plan and why we do it this way.

First off, plan ahead. I am stunned by how little planning goes into some churches. You would think that pastors don’t care what is happening in their churches. Naturally, I am a planner, so this is easier for me and actually more comforting when it is done. For example, the other day I talked to a pastor that said, “It’s Thursday and all I have is a title.” That’s like saying, “All I need is a chip and a chair.” We need better odds than that when it comes to preaching. Now, before you get on my case, God does speak at the end of the week, God does change what we are to see while we are walking up to the stage. It has happened to me and it is exciting and scary all at the same time, but this cannot be our normal practice.

At Revolution, we have decided that the best way for us to reach our mission and target is to preach through books of the Bible. This does not mean we are against topical (that’s a bad discussion in my opinion), we just like doing it this way.

We split series up into two categories:  attractional and missional. Attractional will feel more topical, felt needs, but are based on a book of the Bible. Some examples:  Song of Solomon, 30 Days to Live (which was topical, see we aren’t against it), The Sermon on the Mount. The other category is missional which tends to be more formation, doctrine, theology. Some examples:  Becoming, Jonah, and Hebrews.

We also try to alternate between Old and New Testament books of the Bible. What we are trying to do is to make sure we are giving our church a healthy balance not only of books of the Bible, but also styles and feel.

After the sermon on the mount, we are planning to kick 2010 off by preaching through Nehemiah which is a very mission/leadership focused book.

One thing that we preach on every year is marriage, dating and relationships. For our target and culture, this makes sense. You can check out the series we are starting in 2 weeks here: www.iwantanewmarriage.org.

What about length?

We haven’t bought into doing a 3 – 6 week series only. Hebrews took 18 weeks and Nehemiah will take 22 weeks. For the sermon on the mount, we decided to break it up into 4 smaller series to create more on ramps for our church and guests this fall. The length of the series is not that big of a deal as long as the speaker is up for it. Long series are draining. We try to stay away from doing long series back to back as that is draining on me, our team and our church. After the serious feel of Hebrews, we did a video teaching series with Dave Ramsey which felt completely different.

How far out do we plan?

We look about 12 months ahead when it comes to thinking through topics. This is where so many pastors do themseles a disservice. The other day I was reading a leadership book and the author was quoting and pointing to the book of Nehemiah all over the place. Without knowing that I wanted to preach through this book, I would have missed a ton of great information. Could I have remembered it and gone back to it? Sure, but that is risky.

My point is, plan ahead in some way. By planning ahead we are able to do a lot more creatively as opposed to go week to week.

Are we flexible?

Yes. Just because we are planning something does not mean it is written in stone and unchangable. Over the summer we were actually planning to preach through Habakkuk but decided about 4 weeks out to do the life of Elijah instead, which proved to be the right move. Before making the change though, our creative team let me know we had not gone far enough into the creative process for that series. It is important to not waste your team’s time.

For our creative process, we look 6 – 8 weeks out as we think through atmosphere, visuals, video clips, dramas, cover songs. As we get closer, Paul takes us through a process of honing in on what we will use and how it will flow.

How long would this take? Not very long. In fact, if you sat down right now and made a list of topics you would like to teach on in the next 6 – 12 months you would be well on your way.

When I started preaching through books of the Bible, I picked James to start out with because it was my favorite book of the Bible. Not very spiritual, I know, but it worked and I started to get used to it.

The point is, plan ahead. Way too much is at stake to go week to week.

Now I’ve told you how we do it, how do you plan your series? How do you decide what to preach on?

Goals & the Future of Revolution Church

Last night we had our LEAD team meeting. This is one of the most important things that happens at Revolution every month. This is where all of the elders and paid and unpaid staff come together to pray, share stories, challenge each other, dream, and develop as leaders to go back to our teams and develop them and take the vision and culture of Revolution so it spreads through the whole church.

Several months ago, I really felt challenged by God for us to specifically ask him for things. Not to just pray that God would move in our church or send people to us or pray that his will would be accomplished. Although those are great and biblical things. Instead, to specifically seek his face and his heart for what he wants to do in our church and then pray to see that come to fruition and act on that. It has been an exciting and scary time.

So as a team, we spent time together and individually asking God, “What do you want to see happen at Revolution?”

Here are some of the things we are praying and acting on to see happen:

  • On September 26, when we start our I Want a New Marriage series we would have 115 adults. Currently, we average 58.
  • At the beginning of October, we would have 72 adults serving at least once a month in our church. Currently, we have 36 serving at least once a month.
  • At the beginning of October, we would have 74 adults filling 8 small groups. Currently, we have 4 small groups with 37 adults in them.
  • At the beginning of October, we would be hitting our weekly needed budget financially every week.

These are huge goals, huge dreams, huge prayers.

The reason I think this is important is, all of those numbers represent people like you and me. People who don’t know God, people who don’t know joy, people who don’t know why they exist, people who have yet to experience the full life that God dreams for us to experience.

That is why dreams and numbers matter. Not to fill up a room, but to fill up the kingdom.

Here is what I am asking you, whether you attend Revolution or not. Pray with us. Ask God to fulfill what we believe he has place on our heart and in our heads. That we would see God move and create a force in Tucson and use us.

Revolution, be praying, building relationships with people who don’t know God and when God places it on your heart make the big ask: “Do you want to come to church with me on Saturday and then go out to eat afterward?” I always look at it this way, what would my life be like if people didn’t love me enough to get me to church when I didn’t know God.

Why I Read

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on self leadership recently as I am doing a breakout at a conference in March on the topic.

I always get questions about why I read so much, how I have time, basically am I a nerd?

No to the last part.

There is an old cliche that says, “When you stop growing, you start dying.” As a leader, to take the next step, you have to read. You are not smart enough or good enough to just go on what “you know.” It amazes me when I meet with leaders and I ask them what they are reading and they give me a blank stare.

What?!?!?

Who and what you read are critical because it shapes you. If you look at what I am reading right now, you will probably see those things spring up in our FUEL gatherings and in my sermons or even in the series that we do. What I read not only shapes me but our entire church.

How do I choose a book? Recommendations from other leaders, blogs, amazon, some publishers send me books. I learned a long time ago to read books by people I agree with and those I disagree with. As a leader, you need to know how to lovingly disagree with someone, and who knows, you may be wrong about something. It’s happened to me. The other important thing is to not just read about one topic. As a leader, don’t just read about leadership. Read books on theology, biographies, novels, parenting. Always be diverse in your choices, but do stay focused on what you want to get better at. If you find an author you like, go and buy all that they wrote.

When you read a book you like, send the author a note and tell them. I have built some great relationships with people because I sent them a note thanking them for what they wrote. Some books will have profound effects on you, tell people.

For me, an author has about 30 – 40 pages to grab me. If they don’t the book gets put down. Unless I’ve been told about this book by multiple people I respect.

How do I read so much? I always have a book and a highlighter. On my desk, in my computer bag, in the bathroom, in the car. Multiple everywhere. When I meet with someone I take a book (they may be late). When I have an appointment, I take a book. These are all precious moments to read that are easily missed by leaders.

This also affects who we hire at Revolution. One of the things I loved about Paul is that he is a learner. We talked to some good worship leaders who didn’t have an answer to the “what are you reading” question. If you are not growing as a leader, you are not getting better, which means you are getting worse. How do you expect God to use you if you are not growing?

To see what I’ve read over the last 3 years, go here.

Links of the Week

  1. Interview with Ed Stetzer on the missional movement
  2. Ben Arment on How not to seek but to be sought out
  3. Scot McKnight on Virtual community
  4. Craig Groeschel on Missional ministry
  5. How Mars Hill, Seattle plans a series
  6. Interview with Anne Jackson on burnout
  7. Larry Osborne on Is it a sin to be average?
  8. In the wake of leadership (an article by Andy Stanley)
  9. Phil Pike on Pastors – wimps or endangered species
  10. Video Interview with Mark Driscoll on church planting, preaching and leadership
  11. John Piper on Is God’s love unconditional?